Have you ever walked into a home (either a brand new one or one that’s been around for 25 years or more) and said to yourself, “I wonder what the builder was thinking when they built this house?”
Maybe you are thinking of finally building your dream home. Or considering downsizing the one you currently own. Or need to remodel the one you currently live in.
Here are 8 things to keep in mind:
- Have a vision of what you want your home to look like. The floor plan is just the first step in the process. There a hundreds of thousands of decisions you will need to make. Take just the bathroom – what color tile? What pattern? Will the cabinets match? Faucets? Countertops? The floor? And that’s just one bathroom!
- Find the right people – By people, I mean an architect, a builder, sub-contractors, suppliers. Are they licensed and bonded? More importantly, can you get along with them? Do they offer suggestions? Are they difficult to deal with?
- Visit the construction site often – Be sure that the home/remodeling is being built to your expectations. Ask questions. Make suggestions. Visiting your home every other day is recommended.
- Building too big of a home – Don’t think about what size you need right now—but what you will need 7 to 10 years from now. A well-designed 3,000 sq. ft. home may work just as well as an ill-designed 5,000 sq. ft. home.
- Work that you can do to reduce costs – Ask the builder what sweat equity he/she will allow you to do to help reduce costs. Painting the walls or staining the trim. Maybe you have a friend who is a licensed electrician who would charge you less.
- Think about the upgrades – When a builder provides you with a price to build your home/remodeling, it’s usually based on “medium grade” materials. Take kitchen cabinets for example. What type, color and grade are included? Or should you pay $8,000 extra for solid maple cabinets instead? It depends on your budget and if you can find something that you like in the medium grade so you can use the money for something else. Other than you loving maple wood, there is very little resale value in upgraded cabinets when it comes time to sell. Consider only adding your MUST HAVE upgrades.
- Think about selling your home in the future – Even if you never plan to sell your home, your descendants may have to do so. Build your home so it’s not a nightmare to sell.
- Think about monthly mortgage payments – When you have been pre-approved for your mortgage amount there are a few things to consider.
- What will the interest rate be when the home is completed?
- How much will extra upgrades add to the monthly payment?
- How much money will you need after the closing (window coverings, furniture, landscaping)?